By Larry Jasper

Thanks to the Missing in America program, a special internment ceremony on September 26 brought 12 veterans and five spouses of veterans to their final resting place at Sarasota National Cemetery in Florida. The remains of these individuals were unclaimed for as long as 14 years before this ceremony.

More than 400 people attended the ceremony, which included a motorcade of veterans and county police, a flag detail, and an honor guard representing all U.S. military branches.

I was honored to carry the cremains of Pfc. Charles William Livingston, a World War II veteran who passed away in 2011 at the age of 85.
Other members and patrons who represented the JWV Department of Florida at the event included Georgi Jasper, Boris Stern, and Dr. Bill Luria.

The Missing in America program was founded in 2006 to locate, identify, and inter the unclaimed remains of veterans through joint efforts between private, state, and federal groups. Missing in America has identified the cremains of approximately 4,500 veterans out of the 20,000 cremains found so far. In many cases, the cremains belonged to veterans who were homeless or had no next of kin. Their ashes were put in a box and left on a shelf.
The Missing in America Project hopes to identify every forgotten veteran and ensure they are interred with the honor and dignity they deserve.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019


By Larry Katz

Veterans Day events were more than just opportunities for barbeques and family get-togethers for Congregation Shaarey Zedek (CSZ) Religious School students. A new program started this year to ensure students remember and honor Jewish veterans.

This joint venture between the CSZ Religious School and the Jewish War Veterans Department of Michigan took place on Sunday, November 18, 2019. The goal of the program is to introduce meaningful interpersonal experiences into the school’s curriculum, allowing students to learn the lessons of history proactively, educating and inspiring students about the sacrifices necessary to protect and preserve the freedoms we enjoy, and building intergenerational connections within the synagogue.

Thirty-seven students attended the three sessions at the CSZ Berman Center for Jewish Education.
In the first session, the veterans and students gathered together in the library. Veterans introduced themselves and shared stories about their military experience. Several brought photographs and other visual materials to show the students.

The second phase of the program consisted of three breakout sessions. Students were matched with veterans in a more personal setting, enabling one-on-one discussions. The veterans tailored each session to the ages of the students.

The third and final phase of this program was a return to the library with the veterans addressing any follow-up questions based on what the students had learned from the veterans and what the veterans had learned from the students.

Future local projects with CSZ and JWV will feature structured dialogue with current and former military service members and their families, field trips to military sites, cemeteries, museums, memorials. and other sites dedicated to the victims of war and genocide, and other proactive events including face-to-face dialogues with people who have devoted their lives to public service as well as those who benefitted from their sacrifice and courage.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019

By Sheila Berg

Women are the fastest growing demographic in the military today. Most jobs are open to military women, but non-acceptance and barriers persist. Women have served as defenders of this country since the American Revolutionary War.

Deborah Sampson disguised herself and enlisted in the Continental Army as Timothy Thayer in Middleborough, Massachusetts. She was discovered and reenlisted again in 1782 as Robert Shirtliff. She joined the Light Infantry Company of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment, which was a group of elite troops. They were required to provide rapid flank coverage for advancing troops. She was wounded after serving 17 months and honorably discharged at West Point in 1792.

The Deborah Sampson Act represents her desire to serve under difficult situations. This act provides guidance for the Department of Veterans Affairs to update services for female veterans including the expansion of group counseling for veterans and family members, improving quality child care, increasing the number of days of maternity care VA facilities provide, eliminating barriers of care by increasing the number of gender-specific providers in VA facilities, and retrofitting VA facilities to enhance privacy and improve the environment where they care for female veterans. The act would also authorize additional grants for organizations that support low-income female veterans and their families, as well as improve the collection and analysis of data regarding women veterans. As the chairwoman of JWV’s Women in the Military Committee, I support the immediate passage of this legislation.

On November 12, 2019, the Deborah Sampson Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 399 to 11.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019

By Steve Markman

A small group from Post 587 in Dayton, Ohio flew to Washington D.C. as part of an Honor Flight on September 7, 2019. The five post members joined more than one hundred others on the trip. There were six World War II veterans, 13 who fought in Korea, and the rest served in Vietnam.

Honor Flight is a nationwide program that flies veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorials. The trip is free for the veterans, funded solely by private and corporate donations. Our trip was sponsored by Frontier Technology, Inc., a defense contractor with offices around the country.

We left Dayton International Airport at 6:30 a.m. and landed at Reagan National Airport at 8:00 a.m. As we taxied down the runway, fire trucks sprayed a water canon salute over the aircraft. The ground crew lined up next to the plane to wave American flags as we pulled into the gate. More than one hundred others greeted us inside the airport with cheers and more waving flags.

We boarded buses and headed to Arlington National Cemetery along with a police escort to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony. From there, we drove past the Iwo Jima Memorial, then stopped at the Air Force Memorial for lunch. After lunch, we headed to the Lincoln Memorial, and then walked to both the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. I lost count of how many times visitors on the National Mall came over to welcome us to D.C. and thank us for our service. Our last stop of the day was the National World War II Memorial.

All of us on the trip served in the days before email and text messages. A letter from home handed out during mail call was usually the highlight of the day. During our flight home that night, Honor Flight called out our names and gave us each an envelope stuffed with letters. The letters were from kids and adults who wanted to express their appreciation for our military service. Honor Flight even had our family members write letters to put in those envelopes.

When we landed in Dayton, Honor Flight had one last surprise waiting for us. After getting off the airplane, we were led toward the main lobby of the airport by a group of bagpipers. In the lobby, there were at least a thousand people cheering and waving flags, as well as a band and even an honor guard from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Although we know attitudes toward those who served in the military has changed since the height of the Vietnam War, this experience was still overwhelming.

If you’ve ever thought about going on an Honor Flight trip, I highly recommend it. You’ll have a great day and experience appreciation from your fellow citizens for your service. If you live near an Honor Flight hub, you should go to the airport to help welcome veterans home from their trips. We’ve added that as an activity for our Dayton post members.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019

By Harvey Weiner, National Commander

Each year the JWV National Commander flies across the pond to participate in a special Remembrance Day ceremony and parade with our British

Linda Weiner, National Commander Harvey Weiner, Ritual Director Mickey Nathanson, his wife, and PNC David Magidson at the Saturday morning services of the West London Synagogue for British Jews.

counterpart organization, AJEX. The trip typically includes a stop in Brussels for a two-day briefing at SHAPE and NATO, but the organizers canceled that stop this year due to a visit by the U.S. Secretary of State.

I still went to the ceremony in London, along with my wife Linda, Past National Commander David Magidson, and his wife Marilyn Mittentag.
The AJEX Annual Remembrance ceremony and parade takes place a week after the annual London Armistice Day parade and celebration. AJEX stands for the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and is a remarkably active organization, considering Great Britain has not been involved in any major wars since World War II. More than 1,000 people marched in the parade, and an equal number of spectators lined the parade route. Considering there are only about 260,000 Jews in all of Great Britain and 158,000 Jews in London, this attendance is noteworthy. It appears all sections of the Jewish community are supportive of AJEX.

The ceremony took place at the Cenotaph near Westminster in the center of London. During the ceremony I laid a wreath of poppies in honor of the U.S. forces who served in all theaters of war. There were also representatives from France and Israel. Linda and Marilyn escorted Renee Salt, a Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz survivor and prominent speaker about the Holocaust.

Prior to the parade, we attended a reception at the Institution of Civil Engineers headquarters, where I spread JWV’s message to everyone at each of the more than 20 tables. After the parade, the new AJEX commander hosted a dinner.

The day after the parade we toured the new American Embassy with a three-person briefing team. The leader was a Jewish Department of Defense Attaché who served as a Rear Admiral. I hope he and another one of the Jewish briefers will join JWV.

With the assistance of new JWV National Chaplain Rabbi Mark Winer, two new events were added to the London trip. The day before the parade we attended services at the West London Synagogue of British Jews, the largest Reform synagogue in Great Britain. Winer served as the rabbi there for more than a decade before his retirement.

The morning of our visit to the Embassy, we met with the David Sumberg at the Jewish Museum of London. David is a Jewish ex-member of Parliament and shared his knowledge about the status of Jews in Great Britain.

This trip is helpful in spreading the messages of JWV and enhancing relationships with Jewish veterans from other nations. I hope to complete the Brussels part of the excursion at a future date.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019

Post: Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 (Dallas, Texas)

Military Service: Lt Colonel, USAF Retired (January 1967 to April 1994 — roughly equal parts Active & Reserve)

Member Since: 2015

1. Where and when did you serve in the military?

– Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. 1967-69 (various admin & public affairs duties)
– Air Force Institute of Technology (at Syracuse University) 1969-70 — graduate program,
Mass Communications (TV/Radio/Film)
– Carswell AFB, Ft Worth, TX. 1970-73 (Exec. Officer, Aerospace Audiovisual Service – now Combat Camera – Detachment creating video training materials for Strategic Air Command
– U.S. Southern Command, Albrook AFB, Canal Zone, 1973-76 (Detachment Commander, AAVS)
– Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, MT. 1976-79 (Minuteman Launch Officer)
– Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX. 1980-94 (HQ Air Force News Service, “Individual Mobilization Augmentee” to the Commander, AF Broadcasting Service (i.e., “shadow commander”)

2. Why did you join the military?

For one, the dreaded draft. I joined at the height of the Vietnam build-up in early 1967. But more importantly, the opportunity to serve and spread my recent college-grad wings somewhere far away from my New York City comfort zone.

3. How did your Jewish faith impact your time in the service?

I was fortunate to be “adopted” by a Jewish family at the local Jewish Community Center within weeks of arriving at my first duty base in Arizona. I was absorbed into their extended family gatherings for High Holidays, boisterous Seders, and assorted simchas. I experienced similar connections at my other active duty assignments. For example, the base Chaplain in Montana provided a portable ark and space for monthly Shabbat services with the handful of “townie” families. The Jewish Welfare Board occasionally sent in a circuit-riding Rabbi to officiate, once for a 76-year-old local’s Bar Mitzvah!

4. Have you ever experienced anti-Semitism at home or abroad?

Rarely – at least nothing overt, beyond the occasional ignorant comment or question. Early on, a “born again” senior officer felt it his mission to “save” me with Bible verses and twisted facts; the Wing Commander caught him red-handed and halted the crusade.

5. Why did you join JWV?

Frankly, JWV wasn’t on my radar until a chance encounter at a Super Bowl watch party. The gentleman seated across from me introduced himself and asked if I was a veteran. I attended a few monthly meetings and nearly walked away (too many “grumpy old men” arguing) but was pulled-in by the Post commander to work on some needed projects.

6. How would you improve a current JWV program or what type of program do you think JWV needs to add?

– Start with visibility and credibility: As an organization, JWV has become a “best kept secret”
and a Voice of the Jewish Veteran that’s not being heard outside our own echo-chamber.
– Seek to engage Gulf War and veterans of the more recent conflicts in ways that resonate with their generation’s culture and norms. Most are raising families and have full-time jobs. Perhaps we can gain mindshare online, then transition into physical meetings as they edge toward empty-nesters and retirement.

7. What’s your favorite Jewish food?

Warm corned beef on freshly baked rye bread slathered with strong deli mustard. That, and a “real” bagel, not the ubiquitous Franken-donut pretenders served nowadays, even in New York.


By Rabbi Mark L. Winer, JWV National Chaplain

Chanukah gets a bad rap.
In the Jewish tradition, Chanukah is regarded as a minor holiday. Indeed, for hundreds of years, observant Jews were forbidden from celebrating Chanukah. Those who commemorated the Maccabees’ victory would receive no part of the “World to Come,” according to the Mishnah, the foundational compilation of the Talmud.

Only when the focus of Chanukah shifted to the miraculous oil lasting eight days, was the festival grudgingly admitted into Jewish observance. The story of the one day supply of oil which burned for eight days appears a few hundred years after the Mishnah in the Gemara.

Some modern Jews dislike Chanukah because many Jewish parents in contemporary America set up Chanukah as a Jewish counterpart to Christmas. No matter how wonderful Chanukah is, it cannot possibly hold a candle to what Christmas means to Christians. With the exception of Easter, Christmas is the most important holy day in the Christian year. Even eight days of presents and the most beautiful Chanukah Menorah cannot compete with what the Christmas tree, the creche, and the nativity mean to Christians.

Chanukah may not be so important in the Jewish tradition, nor does it really work as the Jewish version of Christmas, but Chanukah is a meaningful festival for modern Jews who delight in being loyal Jews and at the same time rejoice in being loyal patriots in their native and adopted lands. From my perspective, Chanukah is a particularly important holiday, for American, Israeli, and modern Jews everywhere in the world. It is especially powerful in its message to Jewish families in which one or more members have served in our nation’s armed forces.

Chanukah is the festival which most poignantly speaks to modern Jews. Like the Maccabees, we modern Jews stand up for our beliefs. We fight anti-Semitism wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head. We stand up for Jewish rights here in America and in Israel. American Jews spearheaded protests which culminated in the liberation of Russian and Ethiopian Jews. Our people recovered from the worst genocide ever perpetrated against any people. We both re-established the State of Israel after 2,000 years of exile and built American Jewish life to a level of strength and depth of observance and study without parallel in Jewish history.

Like the Maccabees of the Chanukah story we balance a healthy traditionalism and a sensible enjoyment of modernity. Proud, strong, and free, we rejoice as heirs to the noble legacy of the Maccabees.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (JWV) strongly condemns the anti-Semitic attack on the JC Kosher Supermarket in Jersey City, New Jersey, which took place on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. We mourn the losses of community members Moshe Deutsch and Douglas Miguel Rodriguez and shop owner Mindy Ferencz. We also mourn the loss of Jersey City police detective Joseph Seals, a father of five. We send our condolences and well wishes to all their friends and family and ask that their names be remembered as a blessing.

According to a Reuters report in 2018, anti-Semitic attacks worldwide rose by 13%, with the steepest rise occurring in major Western democracies. Anti-Semitism, and hate in general, is not unique to the left or right, nor black or white. Hate comes in all faiths, colors, and ideologies.  We call for our elected leaders and community leaders to come together and tackle the rise in hate head on.

As we approach the holiday of Chanukah, we remember the story of the Maccabees and their fight against the Greeks and King Antiochus. The Jewish people were forbidden to read the Torah, pray in the temple, and practice Judaism freely. If it were not for the brave actions of a few Maccabees, our faith would have failed us.

Lastly, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States would also like to thank all Jersey City First Responders for their swift response to the scene. If it were not for them, this senseless act of hate could have been far worse.

About Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America
Founded in 1896, the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is the oldest active veterans’ organization in America. JWV is dedicated to upholding America’s democratic traditions and fighting bigotry, prejudice, injustice, and discrimination of all kinds. As a national organization, JWV represents the voice of America’s Jewish veterans on issues related to veterans’ benefits, foreign policy, and national security. JWV also commits itself to the assistance of oppressed Jews worldwide.